Schools, tech companies tailor social sites for students

Colleges and universities across the United States are going beyond simply creating web sites and pages on Facebook for students to “friend” or “fan”; they’re also working with technology companies to build their own social networks and integrate them into campus life to boost admissions and retain students, Reuters reports. One new app from San Francisco-based Inigral Inc. allows colleges to create social networks within Facebook, while a mobile technology from Foursquare gives students the ability to walk into an event, check their phone, and find other students. Like many apps from technology start-ups, these student-oriented ones currently are free for users, but the owners see the potential to make big profits in the future as capabilities increase and usage grows. “We want to be able to find prospective students where they are, and it is clear to us that Facebook is the dominant source,” said Columbia College Chicago’s executive director of admissions, Murphy Monroe, whose college recently adopted the new app from Inigral, called “Schools on Facebook.” “We want to meet them there in a secure way, and in a way that feels authentic to our school’s culture, and the [new] product gave us an unusual way to do that.” The app allows colleges to form private communities that give students school-specific profiles and keeps them separate from personal accounts. When students sign up, they give Facebook permission to add the app, and school information is then waiting for them upon their first login…

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